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If you’ve ever tried to pick a paint color for your home, you know that it can be a maddeningly difficult task, even for the most decisive among us. Whether you’re looking for the perfect shade of white (warm or cool? Matte or eggshell?) or the right inky blue (green or purple undertones? Too dark or not dark enough?), there are—quite literally—infinite options to choose from. Before you head to the paint store—and definitely before you think about buying a few gallons of actual paint—check out designer and stylist Faith Blakeney’s tips for how to navigate the color process.
1. Gather the top contenders—and then add a few more.
This goes without saying, but you should always see paint colors IRL—what looks like a soft gray in that photo you saved from Pinterest might actually be closer to pale lavender in your space. Head to the paint store and grab some chips before you get your heart set on any one color. While you’re at there, take a few lighter and darker options, too; you never know how the light in your own home will affect what you see in the store.
2. Look at swatches in different settings.
Seeing a paint chip flat on a table is very different from seeing it on the wall. Hold them up vertically to get a better idea of what the color will look like, and move them around the room—colors can shift drastically depending on how much light and shadow the area gets.
3. DIY moveable wall samples using adhesive sheets.
Paint chips and fan decks are a helpful starting point, but a one-inch swatch isn’t going to give you the full picture—that’s why actually seeing large samples on your walls is so crucial. If you don’t want to start painting directly on your walls just yet (maybe you’re not sure you even want to repaint!), try this ingenious hack of Blakeney’s for making oversized peel-and-stick samples: Buy sample pots of your top contenders, then paint them on transparent adhesive sheets. You can stick them right to your walls! Leave them up for a full day to see how the color looks in all lights.
Now you’re ready to make an informed decision.
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